Indian Connections in Argentina + Uruguay
By Parm Johal
No matter where I travel, there seems to be a little bit of India in every corner of the world. With the South Asian diaspora so massive, I shouldn’t really be surprised. Yet, I’m always excited when discovering an Amitabh Bachchan DVD in Morocco, a bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Acapulco, a Tunisian bakery full of jalebis in Paris, or even a picture of Aishwarya Rai in a Turkish market.
Argentina and Uruguay are no different. On a recent trip to South America, it was neat to find Indian influences in these countries even though there are only 1600 Indians living in Argentina today and a mere hundred or so in Uruguay.
With a 25% increase in Desi Globetrotters flocking to Argentina since 2012, this South American region now also has the attention of Indian travellers looking for bold, new cultural experiences, with a tinge of connection to home.
Here are some South Asian connections I’ve come across when visiting and researching
Argentina & Uruguay:
Sikh Gurdwara in Rosario de la Frontera
(Salta Region, Northern Argentina)
I didn’t get a chance visit Rosario as it’s quite far from Buenos Aires, but prior to travelling to Argentina, I had no idea a Sikh Gurdwara even existed in Argentina. In fact, it’s the only one in South America.
Taj Mahal Restaurant (Buenos Aires)
If you ever get tired of eating steaks, sausages and ribs in carnivorous Argentina, you know where to go for some aloo paratha instead. The owners and chef are originally from India.
Indian Emporium (Buenos Aires)
Walking in the barrio of Palermo one night, I came across the Indian Emporium in Buenos Aires selling Indian and Western clothing and jewellery.
Indian Emporium (Punta del Este)
Although of the same name, this Indian Emporium in Uruguay is different than the one in Buenos Aires. Same moniker, different brand. You can visit this Indian Emporium in the resort town of Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Geared to the younger, bohemian set looking for wild colours, different textures and bold cuts, this shop sells fashionable beach clothes rather than Indian wear.
Classical India: Music, Dance, Yoga (Buenos Aires)
Buenos Aires is the cultural and artistic hub of South America. Embracing world music and dance is the norm. I saw flyers posted for classical Indian dance and music events in window shops all over Palermo Soho.
Bollywood Movies: 3 Idiots (Punta del Este)
Our hotel in Punta del Este gave us a binder with a list of movies to choose. Surprisingly, Aamir Khan’s “3 Idiots” was on there!
Bollywood Hero (Buenos Aires)
Through the buzz of a busy market in the barrio of Caminito in Buenos Aires, I hear a call all too familiar.
“I am Shah Rukh Khan!”
I heard it a lot in Turkey, but wasn’t expecting it in Argentina. There he was, a street vendor calculating where I’m from and who I am. Trying to turn a connection into a sale. Nice try, Mister, but there’s only one King Khan of Bollywood. Always amusing.
Have you found Indian influences abroad when you travel? Share your experiences!
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